The Long History of the Prestigious Enrico Serafino 1878 Winery to Alta Langa Sparkling Wines

The story of Enrico Serafino started in 1878 when he decided to become a winemaker. Heir to a rich family from Romano Cavanese in Piedmont, Enrico, at age 23, moved to Canale, the heart of the best wine production area of the region of Piedmont. He was fascinated with the technological innovation of producing sparkling wine obtained from Metodo Classico which was initiated by Carlo Gancia in 1850 in Piedmont. Enrico constructed his underground cellar and he began the production of sparkling wines obtained from Metodo Classico which was never interrupted until now. His reputation as a great wine producer continued to spread and as a result, he received the title “Provveditore del Duca di Genova” as appointed by the Duke of Genoa.

Enrico Serafino had always been a big supporter of sparkling wines in Piedmont. From the birth of the project “Spumante Piemonte” in 1990 with the objective of identifying the best locations to cultivate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to understand the best cru for the production of sparkling wine. With the conclusion of the research, the areas were found in the highlands just behind the Barolo and Barbaresco hills: Alta Langa. In 1991, Enrico Serafino’s agronomist, Gianni Malerba, was called to collaborate with the University of Turin and Piacenza to plant the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in 40 hectares to produce Alta Langa sparkling wine. Enrico Serafino controls more than 20% of these precious vineyards from Alta Langa experiment area. In 1994, after three years, the production of Metodo Classico sparkling wine in the designated areas proved the excellence of quality. In 2002, Alta Langa was given its official recognition, DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and in 2008, it became a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), the highest appellation in the Italian wine classification. Alta Langa DOCG has very strict rules from the altitude of the vineyards which is at least 250 meters a.s.l., the mandatory vintage, and the minimum time of fermentation in bottle which is 30 months.

Today, after more than 140 years, the winery is owned by Krause Gentile and his family. Krause maintains the original artisan soul, respect for future generations and passion for details that have distinguished the winery from its conception. The grapes are sourced from vineyards spread in 60 hectares of land in the UNESCO heritage site of Langhe, Roero Monferrato, and Barolo. The winery owns 25 hectares of single vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba, Canale and Alta Langa plus an additional rented land of 35 hectares that are farmed under the Serafino agronomists’ strict control regulations. Enrico Serafino is currently the most awarded producer of the Alta Langa appellation. This reputation comes from the controlled vineyards, the deep artisan’s expertise in the appellation, the available reserve wines, the choice to avoid spirits in the Liqueur d’expédition and the long fermentation of the wines in bottle. The winery’s oenologist is Paolo Giacosa.

Here are four of their wines that I had the pleasure to try:

Oudeis Millesimato Alta Langa Metodo Classico DOCG Brut 2017
A Metodo Classico sparkling wine obtained from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay hand-harvested from vines aged between 15 to 25 years old cultivated at around 400 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand-sorted on a vibrating table and softly pressed in a nitrogen inert environment. The must then ferments in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and kept 6 months on lees with bâtonnage. The effervescence is attained through traditional method with aging on the lees for at least 36 months. The liqueur d’expedition added after disgorgement is made with reserve wines and sugar. The climatic year of 2017 is one of the years that yielded healthy and complex grapes. In the glass, it presents a brilliant straw yellow color with persistent numerous and fine bubbles. The nose is delicate and complex with white flowers, crispy white fruits, citrus, a note of honey and bread crust while in the mouth it has a pronounced acidity and fruity, note of mineral and finishes with persistence. A medium-bodied elegant wine that is a pleasure to drink with simple seafood dishes.

Oudeis Rosè di Saignèè Millesimato Alta Langa Metodo Classico DOCG Brut 2017
The first rosè wine produced by Enrico Serafino. A Metodo Classico sparkling wine obtained from 100% Pinot Noir cultivated from 4 parcels, hand-harvested from vines aged between 15 to 25 years old cultivated at around 400 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand-sorted on a vibrant table and chilled with carbonic snow. After destemming and crushing, the must is left for 2-4 hours in an inert nitrogen environment then it goes through bleeding and soft pressing then it ferments in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and kept 6 months on lees with bâtonnage. The effervescence is attained through traditional method with aging on the lees for at least 36 months. In the glass, it presents a beautiful brilliant cherry rose color with persistent numerous and fine bubbles. The nose is complex with an explosion of strawberries, raspberries, a field of summer flowers, honey, note of candied berries and brioche while in the mouth it is fruit-forward, corresponding with the olfactory characteristics, good acidity and finishes with persistence. A medium-bodied elegant wine that is a pleasure to drink with simple seafood dishes and a platter of ham and cheese.

Zero Millesimato Riserva Pas Dosè Alta Langa Metodo Classico DOCG 2015
A recipient of a number of accolades for its excellence, this Metodo Classico sparkling wine obtained from 100% Pinot Noir cultivated from 3 parcels, hand-harvested from vines of ages between 20 to 25 years old cultivated around 500 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand-sorted on a vibrating table and softly pressed in a nitrogen inert environment. The must then ferments in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and kept 6 months on lees with bâtonnage. The effervescence is attained through traditional method with aging on the lees for at least 72 months. The climatic year of 2015 had been favorable from blossoming to harvest. The harvest took place a week earlier than the regular period and the grapes were perfectly ripe and well-balanced so the wine of this year is elegant and expresses the terroir quite well. In the glass, it presents a brilliant straw yellow color with persistent numerous and fine bubbles. The nose is robust and complex with white flowers, honey, apple, citrus peel, ripe yellow stone fruits, and bread crust while in the mouth it reflects the complexity of the olfactory characteristics, pronounced acidity and sapidity, with a persistent finish, full-bodied and harmonious. It is a full-bodied elegant wine that unveils the excellence of Enrico Serafino. It goes well with seafood dishes cooked in more complex cooking or simply-cooked white meat.

Zero Riserva 100 – 30 Pas Dosè Alta Langa Metodo Classico DOCG 2009
This wine is a result of a research in understanding the extreme qualitative limit of the appellation. It was born in 2009 from a parcel selection carried out specifically for this project, with an aging on the lees for 100 months and another 30 months after disgorgement. The processing of 130 months, which is just under 11 years, (thus, the name 100-30) brings to light qualitative details difficult to find in absence of extreme refinement. Of particular interest is the evolution of post disgorgement which can really make a difference in wines of this complexity.

A Metodo Classico sparkling wine obtained from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay hand-harvested from 18-year old vines cultivated between 450 to 550 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand-sorted on a vibrating table and softly pressed in a nitrogen inert environment. The must then ferments in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and kept 6 months on lees with bâtonnage. The effervescence is attained through traditional method with aging on the lees for at least 100 months and another 30 months after disgorgement. The climatic year of 2009 yielded a lot of sugar and well-balanced acidity. The season started with abundant snowfalls and rains in spring which ensured a significant water reserve in the ground. Summer had been dry with significant heat waves. The harvest was earlier than the regular period for the all the grapes of the region. In the glass, it presents a brilliant straw yellow color with golden yellow highlights. The perlage is persistent with numerous fine bubbles. The nose is persistent with ample and complexity of aromas. There is a prevalence of candied fruits, honey, ripe yellow stone fruits, toasted nuts and bread crust while in the mouth it has characteristic creaminess reflecting the complexity of the olfactory characteristics, marked acidity and sapidity, with a persistent finish, full-bodied and harmonious. It is a full-bodied elegant wine of exceptional quality, which, at a certain age of 11 years, shows grand finesse and good structure.

Enrico Serafino

Corso Asti, 5
12043 Canale (CN), Italy
Tel: +39 0173 970474
Website: https://www.enricoserafino.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/enricoserafino1878